‘Plan to cut the police budget may go too far’

A PLANNED cut to the States police budget ‘might go too far’, the Home Affairs Minister has said, as he expressed his ‘worry’ at the proposals.

Home Affairs Minister Gregory Guida. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31859391)
Home Affairs Minister Gregory Guida. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (31859391)

Deputy Gregory Guida made the comments during a Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel meeting yesterday at which it was confirmed that all government departments had been asked to make a 3% saving next year.

Speaking to the JEP, he said that the planned cuts would not affect officer numbers, which had a set target of 215.

He added that there were currently 202 officers in post, with one due to join in January and nine trainees expected to start in March. Further officer recruitment is due to take place next year.

However, he said that civilian staff members might be affected. But he said that instead of laying people off, the force may not recruit. The force has 114 civilian staff and seven vacancies.

Deputy Guida added that, as his predecessor had done, he would have no qualms with demanding that additional staff were taken on if the force began to struggle.

His comments followed questions from panel member Senator Tracey Vallois who said that revenue expenditure for the States police in 2021 had been set at £27.2 million and had been forecast as £27.4 million for 2022. However, she said that in the latest Government Plan update, the figure for 2022 had been cut to £25.4 million.

Asked during the meeting how he felt about the proposed cuts in staffing, Deputy Guida said: ‘The chief of police has agreed on the budget and because the majority of the costs are staff costs, the savings will come from staffing.

‘However, there are many posts that are not filled in the police now so we are not talking about firing people.

‘We are talking about not hiring and that is the project for 2022.

‘It is something that I am little bit worried about.’

He added: ‘We manage the frontline services and they have done their part in trying to save money for the government in the last three years and I think they have done extremely well.

‘But they are frontline services and there really is a point where you cut into them too much and you cut into the efficiency of our services, which we cannot do.

‘Pressure is not a bad thing to put on a service to try and get it to run efficiently but I am actually worried that we might go too far and I will be looking at this extremely carefully. Ambulance services, for example, I think are at their limit at the moment so we need to make sure we do not ask too much of them.’

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